​DANTE and NSRC team up to narrow the global digital divide

MoU signed to formalise cooperation in support of connecting the least connected

Networking organisation DANTE and the Network Startup Resource Centre (NSRC) - two of the world’s leading agencies responsible for developing and connecting national research and education networks (NRENs) around the world - have signed a partnership agreement to formalise and further develop their collaboration across the globe. This new step in their longstanding working relationship has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by both parties and is expected to lead to an expansion of their joint activities to give a helping hand to the many NRENs being set up in emerging regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and Central Asia.

The Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC), based at the University of Oregon, provides network engineering assistance and technical training to improve Internet access in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. By strategically working for more than twenty years with universities, research institutes, Internet Service Providers, Regional Internet Registries, government agencies, supranational agencies, industry, private foundations and non-governmental organisations, the NSRC helps to develop national and regional networks for collaborative R&E partnerships. Steve Huter and his enthusiastic team provide hands-on training to university network and NREN engineers to help them optimise network performance, covering topics ranging from network design, to routing and switching, to installation of network monitoring and management tools, to implementing network security practices and deploying wireless networks. The NSRC is partially funded by the US National Science Foundation, Google, and Cisco Systems, with additional contributions from dozens of public and private organizations.

KENET-NSRC Campus Network Design Workshop in Kenya (Image courtesy of NSRC)

This capacity building effort at campus and NREN level complements DANTE’s expertise in procuring and implementing data communications infrastructures for the dedicated use by the R&E communities across the world: DANTE provides the regional network infrastructure working with the NREN partners in each country, NSRC’s primary focus is to help connect universities and research centres to get the best out of the dedicated network capabilities. 

Over the next few months Steve and his colleagues will be travelling extensively across Sub Saharan Africa to support the UbuntuNet Alliance countries in their effort to set up a regional R&E network. Efforts are also underway to work with the West and Central African Research Network (WACREN) to improve technical capacity in the community. In addition to this long-standing commitment towards expanding Internet access in Africa, the NSRC team is exploring synergies and collaboration opportunities with other regional networking projects DANTE is involved in. Under the new agreement, DANTE and NSRC plan to identify needs and develop joint programmes for supporting EUMEDCONNECT in the Mediterranean (in conjunction with ASREN), CAREN in Central Asia, TEIN (in conjunction with TEIN*CC) as well as further support Africa via AfricaConnect (in conjunction with the UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN). 

“We are very excited to work with NSRC, as it is a truly global facilitator for R&E networking in emerging regions. Both DANTE and NSRC are driven by the same philosophy: our activities are not just about computers and routers, but also about people and human networks that develop and use the connectivity. I have seen Steve and his team in action in Africa and Latin America. I now look forward to this inspiring team work in other parts of the world in support of research and education at the margins.” Cathrin Stöver, Chief International Relations and Communications Officer at DANTE.

“This is an opportune time to leverage the numerous investments happening in the global R&E network fabric. We are delighted to work more closely with DANTE and numerous regional partners around the world to enhance the substantial contributions by the European Commission to improve network connectivity and infrastructure. In working together more closely, I believe we can more effectively support our international colleagues with their activities to build affordable, sustainable university networks and RENs.” Steven Huter, Director of the NSRC

Click here  to get an overview of the DANTE’s global connectivity involvement.

To find out more about NSRC visit  www.nsrc.org  

You can follow Steve and NSRC’s activities around the world at  www.nsrc.org/where/